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Chosen as one of the Top 30 Organic Gardening Blogs – March 2018

Raised Beds – Lasagna Gardening – Soil Preparation

Bill visited the local hardware store today to get something he needed to fix a light. He said they were really busy.

On his way in and out he passed by stacks of bagged garden “mixtures”.  Some of the bags he took special note of to mention to me when he got home were the ones labeled “soil for yards” and those labeled “soil […]

Why Mulch Your Garden Paths?

This post was inspired by a reader of my site who has recently invested some time in preparing a new garden bed.  Her sister-in-law is doing the same and they had a question regarding a recommendation I made in the second part of the post Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement.

In preparing a new bed I advised adding about 3 feet to each side of the area designated for the bed and dig that at the same time you dig the bed.  The soil from the path area would be thrown up on the bed leaving the paths much lower than the bed.  I then recommended mulching the paths as well as the bed.

(Picture below shows my new roll of straw.  I try to keep one on hand all the time.)

My reader writes:
“My sister-in law was wondering —and I got stumped a bit— as to why it is important to mulch the paths.  ———I guessed that since you use the path dirt to raise the bed, old weed seeds get exposed.  Mulching the paths helps keep the weeds down and keeps them from seeding into your beds.—”

She’s correct of course.  When you dig up ground —– buried weed seeds are exposed and therefore can germinate. Mulching the paths keeps the weeds down and/or controllable.

The nearer weeds grow to your garden beds the greater the chance they’ll re-seed in your bed.  Even if you’re diligent in removing them ——life is life —–and in all probability sooner or later you are going to have some weeds grow and go to seed in your beds.  Much less chance of this happening with mulch on the paths.

There are other important reasons to mulch —–read more—-

Contained Raised Beds? NO WAY!

I see contained raised beds in magazines that are showing off someone’s beautifully laid out garden. Some are quite elaborate and look lovely. The walled raised beds used in landscaping (for example to control erosion on a hill) make a great improvement to the property and if one can afford the expense and labor in constructing them they should last for a long time.

Our framer of years past (my husband is an artist) had a stone wall that enclosed a flower bed. She had an infestation of copperhead snakes —–read more—-

10 Reasons to Mulch

March 18

Its only when the ground is frozen solid or snow is on the ground that I can’t really do anything in the garden and yard — except maybe peek at the lettuce under the cold frame.  This past February was such a month, so I lost almost an entire month of enjoying my yard and garden.

Fortunately most Virginia winters are such that I can accomplish a lot outside and get a jump on things before green growth takes over.  For me anywhere from 40 to 60 degrees is perfect for working outside.

In January this year I cut the ornamental grasses (I usually wait until March), and cut back some leather leafs and variegated shrubs that we use as a hedge along the side of the property that had grown about 10 to 15 feet tall. The mocking birds and thrashers loved them and were becoming quite prolific.  Both are aggressive birds and —–read more—-

3 Things of Primary Importance When Starting A Garden

Insuring a Great Return of Investment on Your Effort.

My First Garden

We lived in apartments in the city for our first 14 years of marriage.  Bill and I had never raised flowers or vegetables but doing so was one of our dreams.  When we moved from the city to the country we could hardly wait to “dig up” some ground and plant vegetables.

My first year of gardening started out in an area that was one foot above sea level and seemed at times to be one foot below sea level. During rainy times water would lay in puddles and sometimes remained that way through June. Herons and mallards frequented the yard like it was a pond. Then the heat would come and bake the ground.

As you can imagine it was not very conducive to growing anything.  To make matters worse the soil was —–read more—-